Monday, 10 December 2007


This is adding to the problems we have with dysfunctional families in New Zealand.
Fathers not carrying out their responsibilities -- hundreds of them.

Wealthy dads not paying for kids
By BEN FAWKES - The Dominion Post | Monday, 10 December 2007

Hundreds of "delinquent dads" earning six-figure salaries are shirking their child support obligations, refusing to stump up cash to provide for their children.

Information obtained by The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act shows there are 326 parents earning more than $100,000 who are behind in their child support payments.

Meanwhile, thousands more on lower incomes are in arrears, with the Inland Revenue Department chasing almost $1.2 billion in unpaid child support.

The department refused to disclose the salaries of the top10 highest-earning defaulters, citing the secrecy provision of the Tax Administration Act, but it said that income liable for child support assessment was generally capped at $104,312.

There are currently 1248 parents assessed at or beyond this upper limit, meaning a quarter of those high earners are electing not to pay.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said he was appalled by the amount of child support debt outstanding, particularly from those on high incomes.

"I can't believe people could be so callous or indifferent towards their children," he said.

"[It is] money not going to dependent children. I don't think you can offer any excuse for people on high incomes not meeting their responsibilities."

He said new tax legislation due to be passed in Parliament this week would give government agencies greater data matching powers, to track people with child support debt who left the country.

He said the department was also looking at Australian procedures for ensuring high-earners paid child support, to see whether similar policies could be applied in New Zealand.

National Party welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins said it was time for the Government to get tough on errant fathers. The department should pursue child support defaulters more aggressively by seizing their assets, such as boats, houses and cars, in lieu of payment, she said.

The defaulters' former partners would, in many cases, be able to provide the department with information about any assets they held.

Blenheim woman Katrina Ferris said she had not received any financial support for her 12-year-old son, Duncan, from her former boyfriend since October 2006.

She believes he is in Australia, possibly working in forestry or mining. "I expect he's in Australia on good money, I'm 99.9 per cent sure of that.

"Duncan has never even received a Christmas card."

Mrs Ferris said her former partner had declared himself a beneficiary for the past 11 years, meaning she only ever received a small monthly sum.

"At the most I was only ever getting $30 to $40 a month ... it does not even buy milk."

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